Singapore

Nationwide vaccination programme for seniors begins

Three more vaccination centres opened yesterday, bringing the total number of such sites to 56

Since receiving the smallpox vaccine as a young boy, Mr Tan Hong San, 78, has become a strong believer in the importance of inoculation.

This is what prompted him to have his Covid-19 shot yesterday at Senja-Cashew Community Club, after receiving a letter inviting him to sign up last week.

After receiving the vaccination, his heart rate increased for a bit but went back to normal within a few minutes.

"I feel OK, normal. I wanted to take a vaccine now rather than later. It's our way of overcoming the pandemic," the retiree told the media.

Mr Tan, who has diabetes and high cholesterol, had consulted his family physician, who gave him the green light to take the vaccine.

He was one of many seniors who were inoculated yesterday as Singapore began its nationwide vaccination programme for seniors aged 70 and above.

This next phase in the inoculation drive comes after a pilot in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar vaccinated more than 5,000 in the same age range from Jan 27.

Seniors are at a higher risk of severe disease or complications from Covid-19 infection, and have been prioritised for vaccination.

Three more vaccination centres at community centres and community clubs in Bukit Timah, Marine Parade and Taman Jurong began operations yesterday, bringing the total number of such sites to 56.

They include 14 vaccination centres in the heartland, 20 polyclinics, and 22 Public Health Preparedness Clinics.

The vaccination centres currently operate from 9am to 5pm, and will progressively be open from 8am to 10pm.

There will eventually be around 40 vaccination centres, with each planned to administer 2,000 jabs a day.

BY NEXT MONTH

All seniors aged 70 and above will be able to receive their vaccination by next month.

Vaccination for those aged 60 to 69 will start from around the end of next month.

Before the seniors get vaccinated, they have to register and undergo a screening, where healthcare workers at the registration counter will ask them about their medical history and whether they are on blood thinning medication, or if they have food or drug allergies.

After his jab, Mr Cheng Choon Kiang, 78, said: "I don't feel anything at all, normal. No pain, nothing. I don't feel feverish. It would be even better once I take the second jab, for full protection."

The coffee shop cleaner said he plans to encourage his neighbours and co-workers to take the vaccine.

"I meet a lot of people in the coffee shop. I will tell them to come for the jab. I'll show them my jab also," he said, animatedly.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

coronavirus